Isaiah 44* Here are promises of the influences of the Holy Spirit. (1-8)An exposure of the folly of idolatry. (9-20) Also thedeliverance of God's people. (21-28)1-8 Israel is here called Jeshurun, which means "the uprightone." Such only are Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile.Those that serve God he will own. He will help them overdifficulties, and in their services. Water is the emblem of theHoly Spirit; as water refreshes, cleanses, and makes the earthfruitful, so do his influences the soul. This gift of the HolyGhost is the great blessing, the plentiful pouring out of whichGod kept for the latter days. Where God gives his Spirit, hewill give all other blessings. Hereby shall be a great increaseof the church; thus it shall be spread to distant places. Wasthere any other Rock, or Protector, that could defend them? Nonebesides could foretell these things to come, of which God by hisprophets gave notice. All was set in order in the Divinepredictions, as well as in the Divine purposes. Could any otherhave done so? Who can compare with Israel's Redeemer and King? 9-20 Image-making is described, to expose the folly ofidolaters. Though a man had used part of a log for fuel, he felldown before an image made of the remainder, praying it todeliver him. Man greatly dishonours God, when he represents himafter the image of man. Satan blinds the eyes of unbelievers,causing absurd reasonings in matters of religion. Whether menseek happiness in worldly things, or run into unbelief,superstition, or any false system, they feed on ashes. A heartdeceived by pride, love of sin, and departure from God, turnsmen aside from his holy truth and worship. While the affectionsare depraved, a man holds fast the lie as his best treasure. Areour hearts set upon the wealth of the world and its pleasures?They will certainly prove a lie. If we trust to outwardprofessions and doings, as if those would save us, we deceiveourselves. Self-suspicion is the first step towardsself-deliverance. He that would deliver his soul, must questionhis conscience, Is there not a lie in my right hand? 21-28 Return unto me. It is the great concern of those who havebackslidden from God, like the Jews of old, to hasten theirreturn to him. The work of redemption wrought for us by Christ,encourages to hope for all blessings from him. Ourtransgressions and our sins are as a thick cloud between heavenand earth: sins separate between us and God; they threaten astorm of wrath. When God pardons sin, he blots out, he dispelsthis cloud, this thick cloud, so that the way to heaven is openagain. The cloud is scattered by the Sun of righteousness; it isquite gone. The comforts that flow into the soul when sin ispardoned, are like clear shining after clouds and rain. Let notIsrael be discouraged; nothing is too hard for God: having madeall, he can make what use he pleases of any. Those that learn toknow Christ, see all knowledge to be foolishness, in comparisonwith the knowledge of him. And his enemies will find theircounsels turned into foolishness, and themselves taken in theircraftiness. The exact fulfilling the prophecies of Scriptureconfirms the truth of the whole, and proves its Divine origin.The particular favours God designed for his people in captivity,were foretold here, long before they went into captivity. Verygreat difficulties would be in the way of their deliverance; butit is promised that by Divine power they should all be removed.God knew who should be the Deliverer of his people; and let hischurch know it, that when they heard such a name talked of, theymight know their redemption drew nigh. It is the greatest honourof the greatest men, to be employed as instruments of the Divinefavour to his people. In things wherein men serve themselves,and look no further, God makes them do all his pleasure. And anobler Shepherd than Cyrus does his Father's will, till his workis fully completed.
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